Football, Yogurt and Live-Tweeting

Superbowl Ads Twitter

Yessss! The Superbowl is today!

I didn’t even know who was playing until someone at work asked if I wanted to join a pool this week. I asked who was playing and the guy told me while backing away.

Here’s a brief history of my personal interaction with this all-American event:

Superbowl XXXVII: A Personal Triumph

Until recently, I associated the Superbowl with pledging a sorority. The amazing sorority I wanted to join freshman year had a time-honored tradition in which each year’s pledges present a halftime “dance” at superbowl parties, at a house of upperclassmen guys. There was no effing way I was doing that. I participated as far as wearing the proper colors (Raiders’ black-and-silver) and allowing my face to be painted. I then successfully ducked out completely unnoticed as we were ascending the stairs toward the living room. Taking advantage of the cluster-fuck and drunkenness, I looped back around to the end of the procession line, so there wasn’t enough room for me in the living room. (This is my 1st time admitting this.)

Superbowl XLVII: Prime Reading (& Tweeting!) Time 

I never developed an interest in this game. Visiting my brother in college meant I was forced to attend a couple of Wisconsin football games in ridiculously freezing weather. There are photos of me eating yogurt and reading a book during these games.

Now, Superbowl feels like some kind of milestone in my 1st year back home in 4 years. I’m spending it at my parents’ house (unintentionally; I didn’t realize this weekend was Superbowl Sunday until 2 days ago).

Tonight, I’m excited for more than just yogurt and reading (as if that power combo wasn’t enough). Tonight the added bonus is Twitter. I have fallen in love with Twitter this year – especially during huge public events. I had a blast during the Presidential debates – another event I probably wouldn’t have cared that much about had I not been privy to hilarious real-time commentary offered by professional and amateur comedians.

Participating in a collective conversation with complete strangers is basically the most invigorating experience I’m capable of having these days.

Twitter provides the platform; Superbowl-like events set the topic.

My mom’s response to all this:

I hate that word ‘hashtag’. Isn’t it just this? (Crosses fingers in hashtag formation.)

Follow me tonight @steppenchik.

Facebook After Weddings Feels Like Rocket Science

Facebook Wedding Photos

Facebook can prolong post-wedding bliss . . . or instill anxiety in hung-over guests.

I went to a picture-perfect wedding this weekend, and posted a ton of iPhone pics on Facebook. Everyone complains while it’s happening but then harasses me to post them as soon as I can.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

My passion for taking iPhone pictures at events like this lately has led to some heated privacy discussions, untagging requests and questions about how to remove comments. One of my friends went so far as to explain to me that she’s worked so far to get to where she is, and can’t afford to have it all taken away with some drunken pictures of her posted on Facebook. (You’d think the person who said this was a kindergarten teacher, but it wasn’t.) After a post-bachelorette party posting session, I received frantic phone calls from friends who didn’t understand that I set the albums to private, and that no one but us could see them.

I try and be as respectful as possible, and honor all the “take down/untag” requests I can – but I can’t help but notice how increasingly difficult or annoying the process has gotten; ironically as Facebook claims it’s goal is  “improve” the user experience, it feels more complicated than ever.

More Users, More Responsibility, More Confusion

There’s a huge catch-22 going on with Facebook’s growing popularity and photo-sharing that’s resulting in UX improvements that are actually making everything more complicated than before. It’s the easiest way to share pictures with friends, but this means it’s also the easiest way to inadvertently share pictures with friends’ bosses. Technophile parents are popping up all over the network, and with them comes irresponsible content sharing. Facebook is aware of this, and has made several privacy improvements over the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, these “improvements” are tucked inside Settings windows and easy-to-miss rollover icons, that most users just don’t notice.

So when I get a text message from the bride the day after her wedding asking me how to tag people on her iPhone, I don’t even know where to begin. Facebook has changed it’s user interface so many times – most recently a couple of weeks ago to improve the app’s speed – that it’s pretty impossible to visualize yet alone describe the user-flow of an action as simple as tagging. I had to tell the bride to be patient, and that I’d tag them myself once I got to a computer. The iPhone app was simply too complicated.

Facebook Wedding Photos 1

The tag icon reveals previously-added tags

Facebook Wedding Photo 2

No tags were previously added on desktop, and there’s no way to add them on mobile.

View the full *public album on Facebook: Jennie & Tommy

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